Abdullah's big kick return sparks Huskers

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Freshman Ameer Abdullah makes a cut during a 100 yard kick off return. Abdullah played a big role in his second game of his career.

Story by Chris Casper and photos by Crystal Zamora, News Net Nebraska

Fresno State had just come back with a touchdown and came up short on a two-point conversion with just more than 12 minutes left in the game. The Bulldogs were that close to tying Nebraska, and trailed 28-26 when Kevin Goessling lofted his kickoff to true freshman Ameer Abdullah.

The ball fell into Abdullah’s arms when he was standing on the goal line. He then sprinted to the 20, taking advantage of some blocks by his teammates. Just when he went into a group of Fresno State defenders, he busted out of the group. Abdullah juked right to avoid a Bulldog and then it was a foot race to get to the end zone.

He picked up more blocks, and with one guy left, who seemed like he was going to catch the freshman, Abdullah got another block at about the 10-yard line and cut back in from the sideline and scored.

The Huskers led 35-26 at that point, and won 42-29 over the unranked team from the Western Athletic Conference to improve to 2-0 Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

“He comes ready to practice every day,” Coach Bo Pelini said. “That’s why he is out there.”

Abdullah finished the game with 211 yards on five kick returns, a Husker record.

“I didn’t even know I broke the record,” Abdullah said.

Fresno State had been driving up and down the field all day, picking apart the Nebraska defense and putting together four- to five-minute drives. In the end, Fresno State controlled the ball for 37:12 to the Huskers’ 22:48. The Bulldogs also had five drives of 10 plays or more, but only finished one of those drives with a touchdown.

The Huskers went to the locker room down by three, 17-14. Fresno State came right out of the box with a field goal to go up 20-14. But Husker quarterback Taylor Martinez answered with a 42-yard pass to Jamal Turner, and two plays he hit Quincy Enunwa to put the Huskers ahead 21-20. That was their first lead of the game and they never trailed again.

Martinez completed 10 out of 20 passes for 219 yards. He also had 15 rushes for 166 yards and two rushing touchdowns of two and 46 yards.

Running back Rex Burkhead had 85 yards rushing and two touchdowns. On defense, Lavonte David finished with 15 tackles and kicker Brett Maher hit all six of his extra points to remain perfect through two games.

Regardless of the win, Pelini wants improvement.

“Overall, we know what we need to do to fix our defense,” Pelini said.

The Huskers host Washington at 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium Saturday.

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During a Nebraska defensive stand, fans cheer on the Blackshirts.

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